Plus Architecture’s Visionary Design for McCall Community Hub Secures DA Approval

Plus Architecture McCall Community Hub
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In a significant milestone for inclusive design, the Hills Shire Council has granted development approval for the amended design of McCall Community Hub, situated in the heart of Sydney’s northwest. Crafted by the renowned international architecture firm Plus Architecture, in collaboration with the McCall Gardens Community Foundation, the approved design promises an inclusive, accessible, and well-being-centered space for the local community.

Perched atop the picturesque hills overlooking Box Hill, Plus Architecture’s design for the McCall Community Hub promises an enhanced and inclusive experience for individuals of all abilities. With a commitment to providing facilities accessible to McCall’s participants and the wider community, the Hub aspires to empower individuals with disabilities and combat segregation and stigma through thoughtful design.

McCall Community Hub Courtyard Space Design Render (Image: Plus Architecture & Atchain)
^McCall Community Hub Courtyard Space Design Render (Image: Plus Architecture & Atchain)

Established in 1958, the center stood as a pioneering model in NSW. Yet, by the 1980s, evolving standards following alterations to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights rendered the residential building unsuitable, leaving a lingering stigma. The proposed design for the forthcoming development endeavors to harmonize by honoring heritage features while ushering in a fresh era imbued with a renewed sense of community vitality.

Embracing the site’s historical significance, the revitalized $35 million Hub seamlessly incorporates three iconic heritage buildings, marking a new chapter for the site while honoring its architectural and social heritage.

Gabriel Duque, Principal at Plus Architecture, envisions the updated design as a ‘community beacon’, setting a new standard for holistic and inclusive design in Box Hill.

“The backbone of the updated DA is about creating a new way forward of providing care for people with special needs, through better integration with the local community and finding ways to overcome stigma through design.” Duque emphasized.

“We went through the process of essentially re-establishing the aspirational and the functional briefing requirements of the Hub, trying to ensure that we stayed within the original footprint of the original DA while celebrating the site assets and fine-tuning the design to be more accessible, and inserting more opportunities where people are able to come together.”

Gabriel Duque, Principal at Plus Architecture (Image: Plus Architecture)
^Gabriel Duque, Principal at Plus Architecture (Image: Plus Architecture)

Plus Architecture, in collaboration with project partners, conducted thorough research across the McCall site to gain insight into the role and functionality of existing spaces. This comprehensive approach ensured that the physical challenges posed by the 47,438 square meter sloped site were addressed without compromising accessibility.

The updated design capitalizes on textures, sounds, and tactile features to create a built environment that is not only inviting but also highly functional in meeting the diverse needs of individuals with disabilities. Enhanced wayfinding measures, such as gently curving walls and carefully designed lighting, are implemented to guide and assist visitors, ultimately facilitating independent movement within the purpose-built spaces.

Incorporating new elements like a sensory garden, user-friendly landscaping, and an enhanced entry statement, the Hub aims to provide a welcoming and immersive experience. Its array of facilities includes a café, multi-purpose rooms for community activities, playground facilities for families and children, and a swimming pool capable of accommodating up to 1500 children per week for swimming lessons.

^McCall Community Hub Streetscape Render (Image: Plus Architecture & Atchain)
^McCall Community Hub Streetscape Render (Image: Plus Architecture & Atchain)

Belinda Colombrita, CEO of McCall, expressed her delight at the approval, highlighting its focus on enriching human connection and challenging stigmas surrounding environments for people with disabilities.

“With over 1.3 million people living with disability in NSW, it is critical that services and facilities provided across our communities afford all people the dignity, respect and inclusivity they deserve. At McCall, we recognise the inherent value and potential of all people. We understand that ‘people with disabilities’ are ‘disabled’ not by their impairments, but by the barriers and limitations put forward by society.

“The McCall Community Hub is part of our fight for greater inclusivity and equity. It aims to bring the community together and celebrate a sense of place. It turns what was a very ‘inward’ community environment into an ‘outward’ and inviting gesture – ensuring that the McCall Community Hub can enjoy an enduring legacy and serve the community for many years to come,” Colombrita said.

Sumedh Kataria, Director at Plus Architecture, emphasized the project’s alignment with the firm’s ethos of delivering impactful community spaces.

“Striking a balance between visual impact and functionality, this project showcases Plus Architecture’s commitment to delivering meaningful and memorable spaces that positively impact communities, which lies at the heart of all our work,” Kataria said.

With Council endorsement secured in early 2024, construction on the McCall Community Hub is scheduled to commence in May 2024, with completion anticipated by October 2025. This endeavor is poised to complement the broader Box Hill Master Plan and emerge as a vital community destination for the burgeoning suburb.

Note: The information presented in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal, financial, or professional advice. While we make every effort to fact-check and verify the information presented, we cannot guarantee its accuracy or completeness. Readers are encouraged to independently verify any information they find on our website and to consult with relevant professionals before making any decisions based on the information presented. The Australian Development Review does not own the rights to the information included within this article, and furthermore, there is no infringement intended from the included text and images within.

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